A former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, says strengthening border security and blocking arms proliferation are crucial in tackling crimes in Nigeria.
Mr Dambazau made the call at a one-day International Conference on Organised Crime, on Tuesday in Abuja.
The conference was organised by the Tukur Buratai Centre for Contemporary Security Affairs, Igbinedion University, Okada.
It has as its theme: “Organised Crimes Network as an Emergent Threats to National Security”.
Mr Dambazau said that though organised crime was not something new, however the tactics and strategies deployed by the criminals change consistently to evade law enforcement agencies.
He pointed out that cross-border crimes such as drug, arms and human trafficking were issues that have consequences on national security.
He said the smuggling of arms and drugs usually combine to give criminals a tip to fight the public.
According to him, without weapons or drugs, these criminals will not be able to frighten the public and carry out their dastardly acts.
“The second issue is that we need to strengthen our security institutions, the border security institutions in particular, because quite a lot of the products are being smuggled through our porous borders.
“Our borders are porous and are approximately almost 5,000 kilometres, which is impossible to cover physically.
“So, with impossibility of physical government, we need to employ modern technology in order to do that.”
Mr Dambazau also said Nigeria should partner its strategic neighbours to contain the security challenges.
“This is very important; not just the immediate neighbouring countries, but also strategic partners all over the world because if we have to rely on ourselves alone, we will not be able to deal with the situation,” he added.
The former army chief said that some of the criminals like Boko Haram terrorists have staging areas in some countries, such as Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin Republic.
“So, if we don’t partner with these countries, we will not be able to deal with them; likewise the smuggling of arms and others,” he said.
Mr Dambazau also called for strategic partnership with western powers in the area of equipment and training to have capacity to monitor and act on time to deal with any security situation.
He also called on Nigerians to support the current government in its seven points agenda on national security, and its effect on food security.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser, NSA, Nuhu Ribadu, said that the country has had fair share of terrorism that transcended national boundaries.
Mr Ribadu was represented by the coordinator, National Counter Terrorism Centre, retired Yaminu Musa.
He said the current global terrorism report indicated that terrorism remained a serious threat in sub-Saharan Africa, which has become the epicentre and sanctuary for most deadly terrorist groups in the world.
He said sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 48 per cent of total global terrorism index in 2021, and 43 per cent in 2022.
According to him, the military defeat of ISIS in the Middle East, Taliban victories in Afghanistan, resilience of terrorist groups like Boko Haram and ISWAP, had shaped terrorist activities within the Sahara region, including Nigeria,
“There is an emergent trend within the terrorist group in Nigeria.
“That is the use of exclusion technique, and in that way, exclusion has become a crucial tool for terrorist network which enabled them to protect their complication and operational security.
“The use of a crucial technology by this network ensure that messages and data are coded in a way that can only be deciphered and certified by authorised recipients.
“This level of security and terrorist network protect their operational plans; coordinate attacks and secrecy, making it difficult to gather timely and actionable information,” he said.
The NSA said that effort were ongoing between the Federal and Borno Governments to rehabilitate terrorists who surrendered after proper screening out of those who should go through the criminal justice system.
Mr Ribadu however said the impact of terrorism has continued to decline in Nigeria as a result of these efforts.
”The total death has dropped by 23 per cent, decreasing from 497 in 2021 to 385 in 2022 and the number of terrorists’ attack in Nigeria also has fallen positively to 120 in 2022 compared to 214 in 2021,” he added.
The chairman, Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, said that organised crime evolved in Nigeria from stage to stage since after the civil war.
Arase, represented by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Edoba Omoregie, said the challenge of terrorism and insurgency had helped to increase the level of organised crime.
He said the impact of organised crime on national security had continued to impede meaningful progress with dire economic consequences.
He called for the strengthening of law enforcement, kinetic and not-kinetic methods and intelligence gathering to tackle crime in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Chief of Defence Staff, service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police all made presentations through their representatives at the event.
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